PARIS

- The eurozone is now in its longest ever recession - a stubborn slump that has surpassed even the calamity that hit the region in the financial crisis of 2008-09.

The European Union statistics office said yesterday that nine of the 17 EU countries that use the euro are in recession, with France a notable addition to the list. Overall, the eurozone's economy contracted for the sixth straight quarter, shrinking by 0.2 percent in the January-March period from the previous three months.

Though the contraction is an improvement on the previous quarter's 0.6 percent decline, it's another unwelcome report for the single-currency bloc as it grapples with a debt crisis that has prompted governments to slash spending and raise taxes.

-Associated Press